BLACK SABBATH singer Ozzy Osbourne has responded to an "open letter" by the band's original drummer Bill Ward in which Ward said he would not consider rejoining the band unless Ozzy publicly apologized for what Ward perceived as a series of insults.
In a statement posted on Facebook, Ozzy said: "I never wanted to discuss this in a public forum but Bill's statements left me no option to but to respond honestly.
"Wow, Bill, what the fuck are you on about? I cannot apologize for comments or opinions I may have made about you in the press during SABBATH's '13' album and tour — physically, you knew you were fucked. Tony [Iommi, guitar], Geezer [Butler, bass] and myself didn't think you could have done a two-hour set with a drum solo every night, so we made the decision to move on. With Tony's condition, we felt that time was not on our side.
"Bill, stop this smokescreen about an 'unsignable contract' and let's be honest. Deep down inside, you knew you weren't capable of doing the album and a 16-month tour.
"Unfortunately for you, our instincts were correct as you were in hospital several times during 2013. Your last hospitalization was for a shoulder surgery that you now say you've only just recovered from. This would have meant that our world tour would have been canceled. So how is all of this my fault? Stop playing the victim and be honest with yourself and our fans.
"Bill, we go back a long way, let's stop this now before it gets out of hand.
"God bless you.
Although Ward was initially going to participate in the BLACK SABBATH reunion that came together in late 2011, he bowed out early and has not been on good terms with the band since.
Ward wrote in his open letter: "With a sad heart, I have to say I will not participate in any musical undertakings until a righting of the wrongs spoken against me has been achieved… I have little to no expectations of this happening, but in the order of first things first, I'm looking for an honest accountability of all of Ozzy's statements that I felt were untrue."
Ward did not state specifically what Ozzy had said that he wanted an apology for, only stating, "Because I was chastised publicly, I would want him to amend publicly in his words, and not through an Ozzy representative, the nature of the wrongs… that's what I want if I'm ever going to be his friend again."
Ozzy hinted in 2013 that Ward was too out of shape to record and tour with SABBATH, saying: "I don't think he could have done the gig, to be honest… A drummer has to be in shape. He's already had two heart attacks. I don't want to be responsible for his life."
It was speculated that SABBATH wanted Ward to play only part of its live shows because he wasn't fit to perform an entire concert.
Ozzy told The Pulse Of Radio at the time that he couldn't necessarily blame Ward for the way he felt about that. "I mean, if someone said to me, 'You should sing with this guy,' I'd be pissed off, you know," he said. "I mean, it's understandable, the way he feels. I'm not saying he's wrong or right, you know. But we had a mission to do an album, you know, and I mean, I think it would have taken twice as long as it did and that was long enough already, you know."
Ward said in his letter that while he had "neither severed nor discontinued" his relationship with SABBATH, he would need a "signable contract" in addition to the apology from Ozzy to make things right.
Brad Wilk played drums on SABBATH's 2013 reunion album, "13", while Tommy Clufetos was behind the kit for the group's world tour.
Ward concluded, "It's up to them. I have dearly missed playing with them and as people, I have been heartbroken over the loss of who I thought we were. And now you know where I stand."
Iommi revealed in January of 2012 that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma and had to return to England every six weeks for treatment throughout the course of SABBATH's year-long tour.
BLACK SABBATH is reportedly planning to record one more album and undertake a farewell tour later this year.